Trust Me, I'm Lying

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Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
Author Ryan Holiday
Cover artist Erin Tyler
Country United States
Language English
Subject Marketing, Journalism, The Internet
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Portfolio Hardcover
Publication date
July 19, 2012
Pages 288 pages
ISBN 978-1-59184-553-9
OCLC 008773
LC Class HF534.H7416

Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator is the bestselling book by the marketer, public relations director, and media strategist Ryan Holiday.[1][2][3][4] The book chronicles Holiday's time working as a media strategist for such clients as New York Times Bestselling authors Tucker Max and Robert Greene as well as American Apparel founder Dov Charney.[5][6]

Background and description[edit]

Holiday is the former Director of Marketing for American Apparel, where he created controversial campaigns that garnered widespread publicity.[7][8][9][10] Holiday has also done publicity work for Tucker Max, including marketing for the movie version of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell and a media stunt about Max's failed attempt to donate $500,000 to Planned Parenthood.[11][3][12][13][14][15]

Trust Me, I'm Lying was billed as an exposé of the current online journalism system. The book is split into two parts: the first explains why blogs matter, how they drive the news, and how they can be manipulated, and the second shows what happens when this is done, how it backfires, and the consequences of the current media system.[2]

As an example of his argument that blogs shape the news, Holiday outlines how the political blog Politico dedicated significant coverage to the campaign of Tim Pawlenty two years before the 2012 elections in order to generate pageviews for advertisers.[16] Although Pawlenty did not yet have an official campaign, this kickstarted the media cycle which painted Pawlenty as a serious presidential candidate. As an example of the pageview-intensive blogosphere, Holiday uses the example of Jezebel writer Irin Carmon's attack on Jon Stewart and The Daily Show with misleading claims of "The Daily Show's Woman Problem."[17] The book is also the source of a marketing and media concept now referred to as "trading up the chain", in which news is broken on small blogs and passed to successively larger and more influential media outlets.


In 2011, it was reported that Holiday received a $500,000 advance for a tell-all expose about these clients and the modern media system from Portfolio, a subsidiary of Penguin Books.[18][19][20][21] However, some outlets later accused the advance of being a strategic marketing stunt engineered by Holiday.[22][23]

Trust Me, I'm Lying debuted on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.[1] It has received coverage in The Huffington Post, AdAge, The Columbia Journalism Review, Forbes, The New York Post, TechCrunch, The Times-Picayune, Fast Company, The Next Web, and Boing Boing.[2][3][24][17][25][26][27][28][29][30] Publishers Weekly stated that "Media students and bloggers would do well to heed Holiday's informative, timely, and provocative advice."[31] Kirkus Reviews called Trust Me, I'm Lying "[a] sharp and disturbing look into the world of online reality."[32]

In anticipation of the book's release, Holiday infiltrated the public relations service Help a Reporter Out and posed as an "expert" on various issues to show that journalists will print statements without fact checking.[12] Decoy claims Holiday made to prove that point were quoted in articles about subjects ranging from boating upkeep, to insomnia, to vinyl records in outlets such as The New York Times, MSNBC, and ABC, and the story was profiled in Forbes and Yahoo! News.[33]

It was named an "Editor's Best Book of the Month" in 2013.[34][35] In 2013, The Edmonton Journal named Trust Me, I'm Lying one of their “favourite books of the year.”[36]


  1. ^ a b Best-Selling Books, Week Ended July 22 . Wall Street Journal. July 22, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Losowsky, Andrew. Ryan Holiday, Author Of 'Trust Me, I'm Lying', Wants To Break The Media. The Huffington Post. June 29, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Getlen, Larry. PR exec tells all about manipulating the media -- and spreading lies online. New York Post. July 14, 2012.
  4. ^ Boog, Jason. 24-Year-Old Marketing Director Lands Major Book Deal. Galley Cat. November 17, 2011.
  5. ^ Gallegos, Emma G. Dov Charney's Marketing Director Lands 500K Book Deal. November 17, 2011.
  6. ^ Nolan, Hamilton. Dov Charney and Tucker Max Together in a Single Book. November 17, 2011.
  7. ^ Travis, Chase. Trust Me, I’m Lying: How To Make & Promote Content That Turns Heads — Hacking the System with Media Genius Ryan Holiday on chasejarvis LIVE . June 27, 2012.
  8. ^ Chaudhuri, Saabira. Nipples, Nudity and a Small Striptease: American Apparel's New Ad Campaign. Fast Company. November 21, 2008.
  9. ^ Morrissey, Brian. American Apparel Grabs YouTube's Long Tail. Ad Week. December 18, 2009.
  10. ^ Vega, Tanzina From Zappos, an Unadorned Approach. The New York Times. July 10, 2011.
  11. ^ Marcus, Stephanie; Bassett, Laura. Planned Parenthood Turns Down $500,000 From Tucker Max. The Huffington Post. April 3, 2012.
  12. ^ a b Thier, David. Tucker Max's Rejected Twitter Campaign and Stab at Celebrity Endorsement. Forbes. February 7, 2012.
  13. ^ Maier, Jenny. [UPDATE] Tucker Max Proves You Can Pay Celebrities To Tweet Whatever You Want. February 9, 2012.
  14. ^ Holiday, Ryan. Why Wouldn't Planned Parenthood Take $500,000? April 3, 2012.
  15. ^ Yarrow, Allison. Is Planned Parenthood Reject Tucker Max Pro-Women? The Daily Beast. April 3, 2012.
  16. ^ Holiday, Ryan (2012). Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. Portfolio. p. 288. ISBN 978-1-59184-553-9. 
  17. ^ a b Frauenfelder, Mark. Gweek 061: Trust Me, I'm Lying. July 19, 2012.
  18. ^ "24 year old Marketing Director Lands Major Book Deal". Media Bistro. Nov 17, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  19. ^ "Dov Charney's Marketing Director Lands 500K Book Deal". Nov 17, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  20. ^ "Dov Charney and Tucker Max Together in a Single Book". Nov 17, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  21. ^ Boog, Jason. Ryan Holiday Did Not Dupe GalleyCat. Mediabistro.November 18, 2011.
  22. ^ Witt, Emily. The Tell-All of Dov Charney and Tucker Max? All Part of Ryan Holiday’s Media Strategy. The New York Observer. November 18, 2011.
  23. ^ Boog, Jason. Ryan Holiday Did Not Dupe GalleyCat. Galleycat. November 18, 2011.
  24. ^ Thier, David. How This Guy Lied His Way Into MSNBC, ABC News, The New York Times and More. Forbes. July 18, 2012.
  25. ^ Holiday, Ryan. Our Gullible Press. Columbia Journalism Review. July 19, 2012.
  26. ^ Porter, Gale. How Did a Tweet About a Large Package Become 'News?'. AdAge. August 7, 2012.
  27. ^ Keen On… Ryan Holiday: Confessions Of A Media Manipulator TCTV. Keen, Andrew. TechCrunch. July 16, 2012.
  28. ^ New Orleans 'expert' scams media outlets in experiment. The Times-Picayune. July 19, 2012.
  29. ^ "Media Manipulator" Ryan Holiday Proves His Point By Getting This Story Published. Fast Company. July 19, 2012.
  30. ^ Heim, Anna. “Media manipulator” Ryan Holiday on regrets, ethical blogging and what will kill you. TheNextWeb. July 19, 2012.
  31. ^ Nonfiction review of Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. Publishers Weekly. July 16, 2012.
  32. ^ Trust Me, I'm Lying. Kirkus Reviews. June 15, 2012.
  33. ^ Stableford, Dylan. ‘Media manipulator’ admits he lied as a source for the Times, ABC, CBS. July 19, 2012.
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Edmonton Journal staff pick favourite books of the year". Edmonton Journal. 

External links[edit]